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Effectively Leverage Social Media During A Natural Disaster


Natural Disaster Photography The recent hurricane drives home the importance of small business Social Media. Even with little time and limited Internet access, a Business can share with its customers its status and projected slow-downs because of a natural disaster or other unexpected incidents.

Few other methods are as effective at reaching a large population in a brief time in a highly shareable of a format. There are several key considerations for a business as it incorporates social media into its disaster preparedness plan.

What are the contingencies for gaining internet access?

Often immediately before and after a natural disaster the typical modes of gaining internet access may be impaired. Therefore, as you determine how to leverage small business social media, it’s vital to brainstorm ahead of time potential options for gaining internet access. Often cellular communications are still possible to a limited extent immediately after a disaster. However, sending many communications via cell phone is not likely to be as effective as having an air card through a wireless carrier available for a laptop. Further, it can be helpful to have a general understanding of where internet hotspots are located.

Depending upon the disaster, business owners and employees may be fleeing an area. This scenario reinforces the importance of having a general plan in place so that if possible those tasked with communicating during and after the disaster can hone the best avenues to gain internet access. For online potential through credit cards, Better Merchant Accounts has the basics laid out.

What individuals will be in charge of communicating with potential customers?

Depending upon the size of an organization, it’s not uncommon to have several individuals in an organization involved in its social media efforts. In the time of a disaster, however, it is typically best if there are fewer people who are tasked with communication. The reason for this advice is communication between members who are posting as well as organization leadership may be limited. Therefore, having several individuals trying to communicate may lead to confusion and appear very disjointed to followers.

Although small business social media followers will likely understand it is a trying time to operate a business, sloppy posting could turn off followers and impact an organization’s posting at any time. Therefore, it’s a great idea to select one individual; optimally someone closely tied to key decision makers, who can communicate brief and clear messages about the status of the organization.

What stories or information has been loaded on the various social media and may need modification?

Social media is a machine of sorts and as such, it is often most efficient to schedule stories some period ahead of time. Often this approach is a time saver, but during a natural disaster, it could be troublesome. For example, if a business had planned to run a Facebook offer or share a discount on Twitter and then finds itself inoperable for a time, the situation is embarrassing at best. Therefore, it is also vital to modify posting time frames if there is warning prior to a natural disaster or gain access and modify them as soon as possible following.

Image Credit: Campo, Colorado by Matt Clark


For nearly three decades, Chris Marentis, Founder and CEO of local internet marketing company Surefire Social, has been responsible for driving innovation and sales growth for large media and e-commerce brands as well as start-ups. With a long-history of counseling local businesses about their marketing efforts, Marentis provides insight on what it takes for small businesses to succeed and thrive in today’s evolving digital environment. His notable career includes creating the foundational blueprints for online marketing, e-commerce and content branding for AOL's Interactive Marketing group, where he served as Senior Vice President. While CEO of Clearspring Technologies, Marentis developed one of the most widely adopted venture-backed Web 2.0 technology platforms. Marentis is a frequent speaker at local digital marketing conferences and a contributor to SMB and technology-focused publications.

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    • Alex Reichenbach

      Thanks for all of the comments! For more interesting posts by Chris Marentis, visit www.surefiresocial.com. Chris has just written a very interesting article on how you can boost your search rankings with one Google secret that will only take you 5 minutes to implement!

    • Mike Reeson

      This post was very useful. It definitely makes you think about a few factors that you wouldn’t otherwise think about after a natural disaster.

    • solomonlau@hairextension

      Social meadia is the good way .Now the Facebook,Twitter,G+ are popular to everyone.We can use it well

    • James

      Social media is the best medium to spread news everywhere and also it is the most inexpensive means of communication that can target global as well as local audience.Facebook is the most popular among the social networking sites and even Twitter is the most upcoming and famous social networking sites these days.Any news can spread like a rapid killing fire and in matter of few seconds.

    • JamesW

      This is great post Chris, when something like natural disaster happens, we can try our best to at least automate and schedule our business promotions. This way the business can continue to do it’s work even if the most of the equipment is disabled.

      thanks for sharing

    • Ayan

      I understand some best techniques discussed for communication in the regards of disaster and these techniques are quite effective.I agree Social media is the best possible way to spread news around the globe and so it should be used at such times. Thanks for sharing the post…

    • Rajkumar Jonnala

      Nice post. I like you idea of limiting the number of people who are tasked for communication, usually in such cases many gets involved and causes confusion so organization who take proper measures and make sures that they are only limited people.
      Thanks for sharing it

    • Terry

      Great post.I have read some best techniques discussed for communication in the event of disaster and these techniques are quite effective.I agree Social media is the best possible way to spread news around the globe and so it should be used at such times.Thanks for sharing such a great post.

    • rakesh @ Indiabucket

      In Starting Stage, I was not good communicator but social media had given me lots of techniques and tips.

    • Rahul Kashyap

      it is informative post. thanks for sharing this on this blog. 🙂

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